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Seabees use their skills to help out a South Mississippi police department

Construction Electrician 3rd Class Tyler Benvie, from Porter, Maine, runs electrical wire at the Wiggins Irregular Training Project, in Wiggins, Mississippi, on March 13, 2018. NMCB 1 is a Seabee Battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, humanitarian assistance and combat operations support.
Construction Electrician 3rd Class Tyler Benvie, from Porter, Maine, runs electrical wire at the Wiggins Irregular Training Project, in Wiggins, Mississippi, on March 13, 2018. NMCB 1 is a Seabee Battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, humanitarian assistance and combat operations support.

Seabees homeported in Gulfport are hammering nails, hanging drywall and running wires to upgrade space at the Wiggins Police Department.

The project also will provide space for the town’s Emergency Operations Center.

Twelve Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Center 1 are doing work that, in part, will provide administrative offices for police operations and a holding room for detainees.

The project has been a positive experience, Utilitiesman 3rd Class Matthew Konopka, from Chicago, said in a news release.

“We have been able to revisit and refine our skills and learn with newer methods of construction and material,” Konopka said. “Having this type of exposure is awesome, and I am enjoying it.”

Wiggins, with a population of about 4,300, is in Stone County just north of the Mississippi Coast.

The Seabees took over the project from NMCB 11, also homeported in Gulfport, in December 2017. NMCB 11 is now on deployment.

The project includes plumbing work, framing new walls and installing ceilings throughout the building.

Since taking over the project, the crew from NMCB 1 has run more than 3,100 feet of electrical wire, 1,600 feet of pipe for plumbing, installed a shower on the building’s second floor and hung over 600 sheets of drywall.

The project overall has been running smoothly, said Builder 2nd Class John Eckert, from Grangeville, Idaho.

“The crew has been performing amazingly, and they are learning a lot from the project and each other’s experiences in the construction field,” Eckert said. “On top of that, we are able to give back to the local community.”

The Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport has been the home of the Atlantic Fleet of Seabees for 76 years.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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